We produce about 1 million tonnes of plastic litter every year in Australia, with plastics making up 60 - 80% of all marine debris.

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Whitsunday Mission

The Whitsunday Marine Debris Removal Program aims to have a constant and on-going debris removal program in the Whitsunday Region to regularly remove and monitor the islands and coastline, to protect the iconic Whitsunday Islands from the detrimental effects of marine debris. The program was originally launched in June 2009 and to date has been responsible for removing over 169,000 kilograms of marine debris from the Whitsunday Region.

79,303 kilograms of this marine debris was removed during the regular debris removal activities of the Whitsunday Marine Debris Removal Program, with another 5,875 kilograms being removed by the community during Operation Clean Seas in April 2013 and October 2015. The remaining kilograms were then removed as part of our rapid response to extreme weather events. 48,718 kilograms of boat debris was removed during 15 trips in 2010 after Cyclone Ului, and another 23,600 kilograms was removed during four trips (and two land-based clean-ups) after Ex Tropical Cyclone Oswald in January 2013. Land based clean-ups were conducted after Tropical Cyclone Debbie at Cannonvale Foreshore and Shute Harbour removing a total of 13,820 kilograms.

The Whitsunday Marine Debris Removal Program has therefore already made a huge difference to the Whitsunday Islands and the marine life that call this region home. We are now in the monitoring phase of the program, having dealt with much of the previous accumulation of debris, with our aim being to undertake a minimum of 40 marine debris removal trips in addition to one expedition to the southern Whitsunday Islands each year to tackle the marine debris that continues to arrive in the south-east trade winds. 

Marine debris removed from the
Whitsunday islands since July 2009
= 171,316 kilograms